Gilbert “Hurricane” Jackson

Gilbert Jackson has been involved with the sweet science of boxing for most of his life, ever since his uncle began showing him the ropes as a boy in his native Ghana.

Though he was always active in sports, Gilbert began his boxing training in earnest as a teenager after moving to England where he worked with coach Peter Simon, who broke down and rebuilt the young fighter, teaching him the fundamentals of boxing. Simon also gave Gilbert the nickname “Hurricane,” because his fighting style reminded Simon of famous middleweight contender Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. After more than 40 amateur fights, Gilbert turned pro at age 22, training with Casey McCollum and Paul Ensworth Taylor.

In 1995, Gilbert arrived in Oakland and fell in love with the Bay Area. Training in King’s Gym with some of the Bay Area’s top trainers—Phil Mondello, Charles King, Buddha, Robert Salinas, Bobby Warren, Virgil Hunter and Henry the Poet—Gilbert traveled back to England to fight, including two matches in which he battled for the British middleweight title. Meanwhile, he began teaching at O-Mei Kung Fu Academy, and studied muy thai at the famous Fairtex gym in San Francisco.

Gilbert launched Phight Club in 2003 to bring his unique vision of training to the public, teaching students out of several Bay Area’s Bally’s gyms. After his final professional bout in 2004, Gilbert moved Phight Club to King’s Gym in Oakland’s Fruitvale District. Since then, he’s been training professional and amateur fighters, athletes from other disciplines looking for cross-training, and people who just want to challenge themselves and get into better shape. He now does his boxing training out of Kings Boxing Gym in Oakland.

“Phight Club to me is more like a family,” Gilbert says of the relationships he builds with his students through training. And beyond the physical benefits, he says he sees Phight Club training as offering other rewards, as well: courage, confidence, and belief in one’s self.

“I see life as boxing fight,” Gilbert says. “Life is a journey, just like a fight. It’s never easy, but it’s how you prepare for it that matters.”